Monthly Archives: April 2015

That Mystery Noise Has Come Back Again!

It’s hard trying to find a reliable and trustworthy garage so when you do it pays to stick with it. Some people even become reliant on them, phoning up or visiting for every little issue. Here at AE Services in Sutton we have a great working relationship with all of our customers which have resulted in many recommendations. Our customers all receive a warm welcome and are relaxed and comfortable when coming here as we have struck up a good working relationship with them. Our customers know that they can call us or pass by at any time if they have a problem and need advice on the road worthiness of their vehicle but what if it is just an irritating vibration or squeak that’s driving you mad? All engineers hate these occasions and with good cause. Whilst they may well know all of the usual sounds that a car can make it is shockingly hard to diagnose the sound of a child’s welly or toy trapped in the corner of the boot well and that your vehicle will make the noise at the right time. Certainly, it will make it all the way to the garage but it will stop as you drive into the workshop. It will stubbornly refuse to show any sign of a problem until you get home. Then it all begins again. What is needed is a bit of time and perseverance. Spend time with your noise; grow to appreciate it. Crawl around the vehicle and try to isolate it. Does one action cause it and another doesn’t? Are you doing a particular function each time? More often than not the cause will come to light with just patience. After all, nobody wants to pay out a large sum to have an Action Man body part removed from behind the rear seat! Unfortunately it isn’t always as simple as a child’s toy rattling around in the boot and the annoying noise can be something more serious. Again some noises are not obvious on a visual inspection and it may be the beginning of something which will take time to wear to the point of being noticeable to an engineer. If that is the case it might mean driving around with a really annoying noise until it reaches the point of replacement. Here at AE Services in Sutton we will advise you as best we can on when to replace a worn part and will try to get you the maximum usage while still being safe on the road. Go to www.autoexpressservices.co.uk for more information.

The MOT (Ministry Of Transport) Test

You must keep any vehicles driven on the road in a roadworthy condition. The MOT test checks that your vehicle meets road safety and environmental standards. It isn’t the same as having your vehicle serviced and doesn’t check its general mechanical condition. You must get an MOT test every year once your vehicle is 3 years old. You can renew your MOT up to a month before it expires which is always advisable because this gives you plenty of time to get your vehicle ready for the MOT test. Here at AE Servicesin Sutton we recommend theservice and MOT deal as this will give your vehicle a full inspection so if any repair work needs to be carried out it can be done at the same time instead of having to re book the car back on another day. The earliest date you can get your vehicle tested is printed on the pass certificate. You need to use an approved MOT test centre to get your MOT. Only centres showing the blue sign with 3 white triangles can carry out your MOT. Approved centres must show an official ‘MOT Test Fees and Appeals’ poster on a public notice board on their premises. This must list contact details for your local VOSA area office. When a car is registered, taxed, insured and MOT’d the details are automatically updated on the DVLA computer system, if the MOT has expired you cannot drive your vehicle on the road, the details are then passed on to the ANRP of police cars and if stopped you will be issued with a fine and possibly penalty points on your licence, this includes 3 points for defective brakes, 3 points for defective tyres and 3 points for defective steering. You could be prosecuted if caught, the only exception is if you’ve already booked an MOT and are driving your vehicle to the test centre. Make sure you have the details of the garage with you just in case you get stopped by the police, as they may want to ring the garage to confirm the appointment. So if your MOT is due then call us here at AE Services in Sutton to book an appointment now!

How to Check Out a Used Car Before Buying It. Part 4.

It is a good idea to bring along a trusted friend with a good background of automotive know-how to check things that you are not sure of. If you do not have a trusted friend in the auto industry you can pay a mechanic to complete an inspection on it. Make sure this mechanic has good reviews so you will not get scammed. A used car is a negotiable item. Do not feel the need to pay the price they are asking. The dealer bought this car at a low price, and is turning around and selling it for much more than they purchased it with the notion that they might have to lower that sticker price. Depending on the quality of the vehicle, feel free to offer a price. Be sure that it is a reasonable offer. Try to buy a car that is less than they tell you. Most people try to buy more car than they can really afford. Remember, no matter how good that car is today, it is going to require maintenance in the future. If purchasing from a private sale it can be beneficial to the price negotiation to bring a pen, paper and cell phone with you. As you make your inspection of the car be sure to record all items which are damaged or will require replacement. If needed also remind the buyer that you will be taking the vehicle to your own personal mechanic so they do not think the list is for theirs. After you have collected a list of what you believe the car will require you can telephone auto parts stores to check the price and availability of replacement parts. Once you know how much the car will cost to repair if you buy it you can make an informed decision on what you would like to pay as well as increase the likelihood that the seller may reduce their asking price. Hopefully you have gained some worthwhile knowledge on what to look for when purchasing a second hand vehicle.

How to Check Out a Used Car Before Buying It. Part 3.

Remove the oil filler cap. A foam residue on the inside indicates a leaking head gasket. Forget that car. Look at the condition of the coolant in the overflow container; filthy brown coolant means it’s never been flushed and often means a leaky head gasket. Pull the transmission dipstick; the fluid should be pink or red. An old car may be dark but it should not look or smell burnt. It should also be full (check with the engine running).The timing belt is the most important belt in the engine, and is also the most costly to replace. If the car is equipped with a steel timing chain, you don’t have to worry about this. The lifespan of a timing belt/cam belt varies from manufacturer to manufacturer so make sure you ask if this has been replaced if so ask. The tyres should be worn evenly and they should match. Look at the surface of the tyre for feathering (bad alignment). Bad alignment can be caused by worn steering/suspension components, the pothole down the street or frame damage. Also check the spare tyre and compare the tread to the other tyres if it is a full spare.  Check for small trembling at varied increased mph. Slight tremor during a small speed interval may mean wear at the direction mechanical parts. These may include joints / arms etc. This may go together with uneven wear at the front tyre(s). Check for sounds, tremor or clunking noise when making a 90 degree turn. Do this at low speed. This means again, wear at the front direction level: joints need to be changed. Some cars have computers on board. Pay attention to any warning lights when you start the car or when you turn the key or the start button. Verify the lights and all the regular functions of the car when not moving. This includes: any sensors for parking, back parking camera, radio, CD, music installation, etc… If you are able, try to get under the car when it is safely raised and inspect the exhaust system or any under-body rust. Look for any black spots on the exhaust system because this can indicate leaking. This is also a good time to inspect for frame or underbody damage. Tune in tomorrow for the final part of ‘How to check out a Used Car before Buying It’.

 

How to Check out a Used Car Before Buying It. Part 2.

Check the odometer of the car for the mileage. This is important because the mileage indicates the car’s age. On the average, a normal driver will drive between 10,000 to 15,000 miles a year; however, this depends on many factors. Remember, cars age by time and mileage. Buying a 10 year old car with very low miles is not necessarily a good thing. Take the car on a road test before making any final decisions. This is perhaps one of the best ways to know the condition of the car. Hence, a buyer should make all effort to do a test drive first before coming to any decisions. Check out the car’s service history which should give you some information regarding the performances, repairs and problems of the car. Ideally, the current owner would have kept a record of the times when the car needed servicing and should be willing to show you this information. Some cars do not have maintenance records because they maintained them at home. This should be fine as long as they can prove they maintained the car properly. There are instances where used cars are sold because of past accidents or negative experiences. Be sure to check the brakes of the car by pressing down hard enough on the brakes to decelerate rapidly, but not enough to slide. Try this going around 30 mph in an area without traffic. You should not feel any vibration from the brake pedal, or hear any squealing or strange noises. Brakes that pulsate indicate the need for having the brake discs replaced and new pads installed. It should not swerve; this can be caused by a bad brake calliper or worn steering components. Inspect the engine for any sort of leaks, or corrosion. On the engine block, look for any dark brown oil stains, this will indicate that there is a leak in a gasket, and could possibly lead to an expensive repair in the future. Check the brake fluid, and reservoir to make sure it’s is not leaking. The belts should look new (i.e. not have cracks or signs of drying). Old belts are more likely to snap. Tune in tomorrow for Part 3 of ‘How to check out a Used Car before Buying It’.

How to Check Out a Used Car Before Buying It. Part 1.

If you are thinking about purchasing a used car, you know how confusing it can be. There are so many things to consider that it can be a daunting experience. This is true if you are considering buying a car for the first time. There are many things to look for when purchasing a used car but one important factor is to give the car a physical check before making your final decision. Here are a few general pointers on how to physically check out a used car before you buy it. Make sure that the car is on level ground before checking it out. This is to ensure that you will be able to clearly check the tyres and to see if there is anything sagging on the car. Carefully check the paint job of the car, taking note of any rust spots, dents or scratches. Look at the sides of the car from end-on for waviness; that indicates paint work. Run your finger along the edges of the joints between panels; roughness indicates residue left from masking tape. Check the boot of the car to make sure it is still in good condition. It should not show any sign of rust, or water entry due to cracks or holes. Wear inside of the boot indicates usage of the car. Check under the bonnet of the car for any indication of dents, damage or rust. These can all be signs that the car was either poorly taken care of or damaged. Each wing, just inside where the bonnet joins, should have a tag with the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) of the car; if it is missing, that wing was replaced. The hoses and belts should not have cracks. The radiator hoses should not be soft. Go inside the car and check the seats and upholstery of the car for any tears, rips, stains, or other type of damage. Check to make sure the air-conditioning of the car is working well by turning it on to see that it works. Tune in tomorrow for Part 2 of ‘How to check out a Used Car before buying it’.

Check Your Coolant Regularly!

The coolant level in your vehicle shouldn’t change unless there’s a leak somewhere. And if there is a leak, it’s much better discovered early and at home, rather than in the outside lane of a motorway when the engine overheats. It’s important to check engine coolant level regularly – weekly if possible – it’s not hard to do. Overheating can cause real damage to your car’s engine. The coolant must contain the correct concentration of anti-freeze as well, not just for winter protection but for all year round protection against corrosion and scale build-up which can reduce the efficiency of the cooling system. The car’s radiator is fitted with an ‘expansion tank’ that allows the coolant to expand under rising pressure and temperature. This is usually clear plastic so you can see the level inside, and marked with maximum and minimum level marks. If you’re topping up the coolant level it’s essential that you identify the expansion tank correctly  so check the vehicle handbook for the location of the coolant filler cap, and follow any vehicle-specific advice given. Only check the coolant level when the engine is cold – it should be between the maximum and minimum level marks. Check regularly and look out for wet or white staining on coolant hoses. Refer to the handbook to make sure you use the correct type of antifreeze and follow the correct procedure. Don’t remove the coolant filler cap unless the engine is cold – the system is pressurised and you risk a face-full of scalding hot water if you release it with the engine hot. If the level drops in a modern car’s sealed cooling system the coolant must be escaping from somewhere – get a garage to investigate as this can be quite a serious problem causing issues with heat distortion in the cylinder head which can lead to an expensive repair bill!! If you have any concerns with lose of coolant then book in with us here at AE Services in Sutton for a complete diagnostic report. The sooner you get the car looked at the better. For more information go to www.autoexpressservices.co.uk

 

End of the Road!

Unfortunately in some cases when a vehicle fails its MOT and the cost of repairing it out ways the value of the car the only option is to scrap it! Excess corrosion that cannot be repaired, too many parts need replacing,  this can be the case with vehicles that are 10 years old or more and for most of us it is just not worth spending hundreds of pounds especially if there is going to be more problems later on! One of the reasons we stress on the importance of regular servicing and maintenance is so that we can in some cases stop a problem from getting too serious so as to prevent it from becoming either too costly or beyond repair. It is vital that you stick to the manufactures guidelines when it comes to the maintenance of any vehicle as these are there to follow and not just look at! You put fuel into your car so you can get around, without it your car isn’t going anywhere, it’s the same for all parts in the car, engine oil, needed for the lubrication of the engine. The engine contains multiple moving components made from metal which require lubricating to maintain smooth motion. Suspension, with the current road surfaces as bad as they are damage is caused to the various suspension parts and these do need replacing possibly more than once during the lifetime of the vehicle. If the vehicle is neglected then it is not going to preform properly and damage to one part can lead to damage to others. If you find yourself with no other alternative than to scrap your vehicle as sad as it might be it is not a difficult thing to do, there are various companies online that will come and take your car for you and usually you will get scrap value for it.

Reconditioned Engine

Are you are experiencing trouble with your vehicle’s engine? Have you been told the only solution available is to have your engine replaced with a new engine? To most people this sounds like the worst possible news you could receive. You may not be able to afford to replace the car engine with a brand new one, so what options are available to you? Have you heard the term ‘reconditioned engine’? This is the cheapest option if you need a ‘new’ engine. Here at AE Services in Sutton we can source a re-con engine for a fraction of the price of a new engine and the re-con engine also comes with a 1 year warranty (subject to warranty terms and conditions). Some reconditioned engines can easily outlast some of the newer models out there. Maybe you can attribute it to the whole “they do not make as they used to” argument, but the proof is out there. For people on a budget, this method is the best option. Why pay full price for a car engine if you can get the same performance from a second hand engine? Just because it is a used engine does not make it worthless, in some cases the engine supplied can have lower mileage than your current engine. The engine will be of the same quality as if new, the parts used will be in full working order taken from other engines and tested fully. That’s why it is called a reconditioned engine. The benefits of buying a reconditioned engine greatly outweigh the negative. Why spend a couple hundred extra pounds for a new engine if the cheaper second hand engine will offer the solution you need. Here at AE Services in Sutton we will give our customers the option to have a reconditioned engine if needed which will make the whole process of an engine replacement a little less daunting and a little easier on the pocket.

When Do I Need To Replace My Brakes?

As we are all quite aware that one of the most  important safety feature of any vehicle is the braking system. The braking system can vary from car to car, brake disks and brake pads and brake drums and shoes. Most new vehicles will have a brake indicator light (which is a wear wire attached to the brake pads) on the dash to warn you that the brakes are getting low. Vehicles without this feature will need to rely on their repair centre for this. Brakes on all vehicles regardless of the set up basically do the same thing, push down on the brake pedal and the car slows to a stop. On a brake disk and break pad system if the brake pad is severely worn down, it can leave deep, circular-shaped marks and grooves in the brake disk. Those marks, called scores, they look a lot like the grooves on a record. If the scoring on the disk is particularly deep, from lack of regular maintenance, the disc itself may need to be replaced. The drum brake has two brake shoes and a piston, an adjuster mechanism, an emergency brake mechanism and springs. When you hit the brake pedal, the piston pushes the brake shoes against the drum, causing the car to slow down to a stop. Other components that can cause braking issues to a car are the  brake lines, these can crack and holes can start to appear through corrosion. If there is a fault, or leak in any of the brake lines, you could experience a loss in pressure and your brakes won’t work properly, they may even completely fail. You shouldn’t see a drop of brake fluid anywhere near the wheel, if you do find a leak it is advisable to get the vehicle inspected as soon as possible, either way, a repair or replacement will be needed as even a small leak in a hydraulic brake system can be very dangerous. Above all else, remember this, it’s dangerous to wait too long to change your brake pads. As the brakes are applied repeatedly over thousands of miles, the brake pads gradually wear down, reducing their ability to stop the car. Here at AE Services in Sutton safety is our top priority so if you are experiencing any braking issues give us a call to book your car in now!